Friday, 28 May 2010


Ken Berwitz

From my sister -- and, given the quality of news these days, a welcome dose of comic relief:

Ponder on these imponderables:

1. If you take an Oriental person and spin him around several times, does he become disoriented?

2. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?

3. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?

4. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled? 

5. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?

6. Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

7. When cheese gets its picture taken, what does it say?

8. Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist but a person who drives a racing car not called a racist? 

9. Why are a wise man and a wise guy opposites?

10. Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?

11. Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?

12. 'I am' is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language.

Could it be that 'I do' is the longest sentence?

13. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow
that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged,
models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed? 

14. What hair color do they put on the driver's license's of bald men?

15. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little
spoons and forks so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? Toothpicks?

16. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What
are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their
pictures on the postage stamps so the postmen can look for them while
they deliver the mail? 

17. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.


18. No one ever says, 'It's only a game' when their team is winning.

19. Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.50 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water?

Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE 

20. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool? 

21. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea , does that mean that one enjoys it?



Ken Berwitz

From CNN:

Washington (CNN) -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel used former President Bill Clinton as an intermediary last year as part of a failed administration effort to dissuade Pennsylvania Rep. Joe Sestak from running for the U.S. Senate, according to a publicly released memorandum from the White House legal counsel's office.


Top White House lawyer Robert Bauer conceded that "options for Executive Branch service were raised" for Sestak, but insisted that administration officials did not act improperly. He characterized the attempt to influence Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary -- ultimately won by Sestak -- as no different from political maneuvers by past administrations from both political parties.

From  US News:

About that job that was offered to Rep. Joe Sestak as an inducement to not challenge Republican-turned-Democrat Arlen Specter in Pennsylvanias Democratic Senate primary? Turns out it was all a misunderstanding, or something close to it.

From the Huffington Post:

The saga surrounding the White House's floating of a job to Rep. Joe Sestak (D-Penn.) in the early summer months of 2009 took on new levels of political drama Friday following the release of more detailed information about the offer.

But as both political sides reorient themselves around the fault lines, the more fundamental question of whether laws were actually broken seems to get more dull.

In interviews with the Huffington Post, two prominent public integrity lawyers with white-collar crime and Justice Department experience say that if the White House and Sestak's account of what happened is to be believed, then no sober-minded prosecutor would pursue the case.

Etc. etc. etc.


From American Thinker (the bold print of the verbatim transcript -- let me say that again, the VERBATIM TRANSCRIPT -- is mine):

Larry Kane, known as the "dean of Philadelphia television news anchors," has been covering Pennsylvania politics for more than 40 years.  During a February 18th interview he asked Congressman Joe Sestak to clarify a rumor he had been hearing for months.

"Were you ever offered a job to get out of this race?" Kane was referring to the Democratic Senate Primary against Arlen Specter.


"Yes," Sestak answered.


"Was it Navy Secretary?"


"No comment," said Sestak.


According to Kane, Sestak talked about staying in the race but added that he "was called many times" to pull out.  Later, Kane asked: 

"So you were offered a job by someone in the White House?"




At the end of the taping, Sestak looked surprised and said, "You are the first person who ever asked me that question."  His response to Kane appeared spontaneous and unscripted.


Kane called the White House Press Office that afternoon and played the interview for a staffer, who promised that someone would call Kane back. A few minutes later, at 3:45 PM, another staffer called and said the White House would call back with a reaction "shortly."


Kane's station played the report aired all night.  At 6:45 the next morning, 15 hours later, a Deputy Press Secretary called and said, "You can say the White House says it's not true."


On the Friday before Memorial Day, 100 days later, a classic news dump day, the White House Counsel Robert Bauer issued his report.  He claimed that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel enlisted the support of Bill Clinton, "who agreed to raise with Congressman Sestak options of service on a Presidential or other Senior Executive Branch Advisory Board." 


Remember, when Kane asked a second time, "So you were offered a job by someone in the White House," Sestak did not equivocate.  He said nothing about an "uncompensated" advisory position or an offer by a White House liaison, he simply said, "Yes."

Someone's lying, and Scooter Libby went to jail for less.

The usual Obama-fawning frauds are in protection mode.  Again.  But there is the verbatim commentary from Joe Sestak, on TV, just three months ago.

Which is more credible?  The Obama spin machine or Sestak's own words, when he didn't think they would come back to haunt him?

Anyone who believes the BS that is being shovelled out about this scandal is either hopelessly compromised in favor of Obama or out of his/her mind.

And that is before we get to the similar situation with Andrew Romanoff when he mounted a primary challenge to Michael Bennett for his Colorado senate seat.  The Denver Post reported that Romanoff was offered a job to get out of the race last September.  But no one is talking now.  Not Romanoff.  Not the Denver Post.  And certainly not the White House. 

You can read the Denver Post article that describes the job offer by clicking here.

To repeat:  Anyone who believes the BS that is being shovelled out about this scandal is either hopelessly compromised in favor of Obama or out of his/her mind.

This administration is an ethical sewer.


Ken Berwitz

Here is the latest on the Sestak cesspool, excerpted from Jeffrey Lord'a article at American Spectator:

Sestak: Brother Collaborating With White House

On Thursday, Congressman Joe Sestak took the centuries old position of all children in trouble: my brother did it.

And his brother? Richard Sestak, the candidate's campaign guru, is now conspiring behind the scenes with the White House on what to say. According to Joe Sestak himself.

In a stunning admission Thursday, the same day President Obama answered Fox News White House correspondent Major Garrett's question on the issue at the President's first press conference in almost a year, the Washington Post is reporting this morning that Sestak is now admitting:

"They (the White House) got hold of my brother on his cellphone, and he spoke to the White House about what's going to occur," said Sestak, who said he expects the White House will release its information Friday. He declined to elaborate on his discussions with his brother.

Get that last line: Congressman Sestak "declined to elaborate on his discussions with his brother."

In other words, in yet another startling revelation, Sestak is now confessing the White House is coordinating their story with his brother -- collaborating on the same day the President was insisting to the nation:

"I can assure the public that nothing improper took place."

The Joe Sestak admission that brother and campaign strategist Richard Sestak is coordinating a future Sestak response with the White House -- a response expected as soon as today -- is certain to increase calls for a special prosecutor. It launches a whole news series of questions:

 What did Richard Sestak and Joe Sestak know, and when did they know it?

 Who from the White House called Richard Sestak yesterday or at any time this week?

 What specifically did Richard Sestak and the unnamed White House official discuss?

 Were there differences in the versions of this story between either of the Sestaks and the White House? 

 Did Richard Sestak collaborate in any fashion with the shaping of either the White House statement or any future statement from his brother in response to whatever the White house will be saying?

 Has Richard Sestak had any other communications with anyone in the White House since his brother's February 19th admission that he, Joe Sestak, was offered a job by the White House?

This administration is to ethics what the Tour de France is to Shamu.

The cesspool stench grows riper and riper.

Expect more to follow.  How could it not?


Ken Berwitz

First, an excerpt from my blog of May 17th, which discusses the trend in Gallup (and other) polling towards more of a "pro-life" position on abortion:

Personally I think the biggest reason attitudes are turning around relates to advances in ultrasound technology, which enable us to see a fetus at early stages of development.  Illustratively, very early in our daughter in law's pregnancies, my wife and I saw our grandchildren's ultrasounds (sonographs), and could make out the shape of an actual baby, not just some lump of tissue in a sac - which, I strongly suspect, is what a lot of people used to picture. 

Seeing the defined shape of an actual child changes things.  A lot.

Well, The New York Times, via Kevin Sack's article in today's edition, is assuring us that not only does ultrasound have no effect on people's attitudes, but is some kind of an outrage. 

Here, see for yourself (the bold print is mine): 

Ultrasound enlisted to raise bar for abortions

20 states now have laws that encourage or require the use of such images


By Kevin Sack


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Its going to be cold, and some pressure, O.K.?

The medical assistant guided the gelled ultrasound transducer across the pregnant womans belly.

The patient, a 36-year-old divorced woman named Laura, stared straight ahead, away from the grainy image on the screen to her side.

The technician told Laura she was at 11 weeks. Do you want to see your ultrasound? she asked. Id rather not, Laura answered promptly.

Laura, who asked that her last name not be used, had come to the New Woman All Women Health Care clinic in Birmingham with her mind set on having an abortion. And she felt that seeing the image of her bean-size fetus would only unleash her already hormonal emotions, without changing her mind.

It just would have added to the pain of what is already a difficult decision, she said later.

Over the last decade, ultrasound has quietly become a new front in the grinding state-by-state battle over abortion.

With backing from anti-abortion groups, which argue that sonograms can help persuade women to preserve pregnancies, 20 states have enacted laws that encourage or require the use of ultrasound.


Alabama is one of three states, along with Louisiana and Mississippi, that require abortion providers to conduct an ultrasound and offer women a chance to peer inside the womb.

Late last month, Oklahoma went a step further. Overriding a veto by Gov. Brad Henry, a Democrat, the Republican-controlled Legislature enacted a law mandating that women be presented with an ultrasound image and with a detailed oral description of the embryo or fetus.

A state judge quickly stayed the requirement pending a July hearing in a suit filed by two abortion providers. But the measure has prompted outrage among abortion rights advocates and raised questions about the impact of ultrasound laws.

In one of the few studies of the issue there have been none in the United States two abortion clinics in British Columbia found that 73 percent of patients wanted to see an image if offered the chance. Eighty-four percent of the 254 women who viewed sonograms said it did not make the experience more difficult, and none reversed her decision.

That generally has also been the case in Alabama, which enacted its law, the first of its kind in the United States, in 2002.

About half of women opt to view them, said Diane Derzis, who owns the Birmingham clinic. And Ive never had one patient get off the table because she saw what her fetus looks like.

Image 'made me feel it was O.K.'

In some instances, the ultrasounds have affected women in ways not intended by anti-abortion strategists. Because human features may barely be detectable during much of the first trimester, when 9 of 10 abortions are performed, some women find viewing the images reassuring.

It just looked like a little egg, and I couldnt see arms or legs or a face, said Tiesha, 27, who chose to view her 8-week-old embryo before aborting it at the Birmingham clinic. It was really the picture of the ultrasound that made me feel it was O.K.

The National Abortion Federation, which sets quality standards for abortion providers, does not require ultrasounds in the first trimester. But many clinics routinely perform them to look for anomalies and to establish a precise gestational age, which can determine the method of extraction.

Abortion rights advocates oppose laws that require ultrasounds, even if viewing the images is voluntary.

The laws dont work, said Vicki A. Saporta, the federations president. They inappropriately interfere with the patient-doctor relationship, and they dont respect womens ability to make informed choices.

The anti-abortion movement has regularly used ultrasonic imagery dating back to The Silent Scream, the influential 1984 film that depicts an abortion in progress. More recently, Focus on the Family spent an estimated $10 million to buy ultrasound equipment and provide training for centers that steer women away from abortion.

To be able to put a face on that baby humanizes this process and really allows the mother to connect, said Carrie Gordon Earll, a Focus on the Family spokeswoman. Ultrasound is one of the ultimate examples of informed consent because you are seeing what you are giving permission to happen.

As with many abortion regulations, state laws regarding ultrasound vary widely. Five states, including two that enacted laws this year, require that abortion providers offer to conduct ultrasounds, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which monitors reproductive health issues. In eight others, providers who perform ultrasounds as a standard practice must offer patients a chance to see them.

Ultrasound bills were introduced in 21 statehouses in 2010, according to the institute. Gov. Charlie Crist of Florida, a Republican, must soon decide whether to sign legislation that would require doctors to perform ultrasounds and show and describe the images to patients unless they sign a refusal.

Many leave in tears

Oklahomas new law exempts women who need an abortion for emergency medical reasons. But it does not allow exceptions for victims of rape or incest.

During the six days the law was in effect, all of the patients at the Reproductive Services abortion clinic in Tulsa averted their eyes from the ultrasound screen, said Linda S. Meek, the clinics director.

But they could not avoid hearing descriptions of fetal length and heart activity, she said. Many left in tears, but none changed course.

As you can plainly see, the story Kevin Sack is presenting is that women should be spared the experience of seeing what they are aborting.  And, and since no one decides against the abortion when they do see the ultrasound, it is completely useless anyway.

I wonder if it has occurred to Mr. Sack that ultrasound technology affects how many people walk into the abortion facility in the first place.  The Gallup article said this:

According to a May 3-6 Gallup poll, 47 percent of Americans say they are pro-life on abortion versus 45 percent who say they are "pro-choice," supporting legal abortions.

This is nearly identical to the 47% to 46% division Gallup found last July, which was down from the 51-42 percent split favoring the pro-life position last May.

Because this is the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life position, the polling firm calls the results "a real change in public opinion."

Looking at the Gallup polling data dating back to 1995, the pro-life movement has been successful in changing public opinion on abortion -- as Gallup found a 56-33 percent pro-abortion split in 1995. That 23 percent pro-abortion majority has shifted 25 percent towards the pro-life position to the pro-life majority the movement against abortion enjoys today.

I can't say I'm surprised that the women who go to an abortion facility already knowing they will be shown an ultrasound image are firmly committed to the procedure, thus unlikely to change their minds.

What neither I, nor Kevin Sack, nor anyone else can know for sure is how many are dissuaded from going in the first place -- maybe because even if they have not seen their own ultrasound they have seen others and now know what is in their bodies.

Look, if Gallup's data are correct (and other polls indicate the same trend) something is changing people's minds.  Why wouldn't it be the advanced technology which graphically shows women that they are not destroying some amorphous lump of tissue in their body, it is a formed child?

I'm sorry that some women are unhappy with having to see what they are aborting.  I'm sorry that some are outraged or in tears. 

But, to tell you the truth, when I compare their outrage and tears to the possibility that they are killing their own live child, somehow the child's situation moves ahead of the outrage and tears, into the #1 position.

Let me finish by restating my own position on abortion, so there is no doubt about where I am coming from: 

I believe that when there is a beating heart and brain activity, there is a live child.  Before that, I support a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy, as I (obviously) support all contraception, including the so-called "day after" products.  After a live child evolves, I only support abortion if the woman's life is clearly in danger.

Zeke .... .... .... There are several elements in the abortion debate: ... 1) Does a woman have the right to her body's function ... 2) Is this right adjusted by non-participation in the conception decision (rape, under age, drunk). ... 3) Will outlawing abortions make them unavailable to poor and give frequent flyer miles [Canada, Mexico, Europe] to those with more money .... .... 4) Abortions were available before Roe vs Wade ... under horrid conditions in many cases ... ... 5) Banning abortion will increase the demand for wire coat hangers (DIY) ..... .... 6) Many of the initial abortion providers were doctors who were aghast at the damage done to women's bodies by incompetent 'providers' who had no medical skill......... .............. .............. IMHO, desperate women with the money will get abortions, here, or in other countries. The actual effect will be forcing poor women. (05/28/10)

steven schneider ken, your definition would essentially eliminate all abortions. the heart begins beating 3 weeks after conception, before a missed period. brain activity is a slippery slope as there has to be some brain activity for the heart to beat. a better cutoff would be viability outside the womb which would be at the minimum 22 weeks or a weight of 500gms. steve (05/28/10)

WisOldMan Aborting a human life is almost always referred to as "a woman's right to choose"...or it's said to be "a personal decision, between a woman, and her doctor"...of course, the father for some reason has no rights, despite his crucial role in creating life...and that's always been a deliberate, crude penalty inflicted on men, by proponents of infanticide. (05/28/10)

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